While Bheeshma and Karna squabbled in the kaurava camp, Balarama visits the Pandavas. He is not happy that there is to be a war! 'Yudhisthira! It is certain that the appalling destruction of human race is inevitable. It is god's will and no one can escape. I pray and hope that all of you return unharmed from this war. The entire clan of khsatriyas have assembled. Soon, the earth will be drenched in blood and littered with severed bodies.
"I have spoken many times with Krishna .'Both are our relatives. Treat them equally! Help Duryodhana the way you help pandavas.' But he did not pay heed. Your victory is assured. It is Krishna's decision. As I do not like go against him, I have to agree with his actions. Both Bheema and Duryodhna are my students in the art of warfare using a mace. I like them equally. I do not want to see them fight and witness the annihilation of the kauravas. So, I am going on a pilgrimage to the auspicious places near river saraswati."
Like Balarama Krishna's brother-in-law, Rukmi, upset that neither pandavas nor kauravas showed him respect or gave importance, does not join either of them.
Interestingly while Balarama accepts that it is god's will, he speaks of his efforts to prevent this war. By now we have come to understand that Krishna has orchestrated a series of events which precludes any possibilty of avoiding the war.
Before the story takes on a new dimension as it describes the bloody eighteen days of the great war, I pause to do a recap! I have no memories of reading the story of the war in its full detail. I do know that the war is not always fought as a 'dharma yuddha'. There are many instances adharma practiced during the war.
When I began to write, I had some questions:
Why are we so oversensitive? Is it part of our psyche? Do our great epics teach us how to conduct ourselves? How relevant are they today? I plan to dwell on these questions and others if they have cropped up, before I go into the eighteen days of war and its aftermath.
My reaction to the assertion that Lord Krishna planned this war so as to anhiliate khsatriyas, 'Why did Krishna have to take this extreme step?'